There is no harm in displaying your political affiliations in a democracy! Democracy is very much about political affiliations, people voting their favourite party and leaders, electing a government and openly showing their dislike for the parties they deem as their adversaries or incompetent or anything else but not likeable. If someone says him or herself to be apolitical in a democracy, there is no greater hypocrisy than this. Everyone who is a legal voter does vote when it comes to an election. However, some voters might not walk to the polling station because they don’t want to vote. It’s their choice. However, after elections, even the people who did not vote become fierce critics of the government and start lecturing about issues like governance, democracy, federal structure of democracy, political liabilities, government’s responsibilities and so on… nevertheless, they conveniently forget that they did not vote – did not practise the very basic democratic exercise.
Well, I am not writing to expose the democratic hypocrites. I am not writing to bully the unacknowledged charlatans. I am writing to discuss a bigger issue, an issue that we all participate in but do not discuss openly because we fear losing perks, takeaways and benefits. The battle of left vs right – a battle which is going on in India as a handicapped match for a very long time. However, with the recent rise of the right narrative on the orient horizon, the left seems to be feeling rattled and perturbed enough to lose balance and also, consequently, lose their grip on linguistic chivalry that they have often been exhibiting for long.
It is not too hard to observe that almost 90% of the media houses, newspapers and ‘scholars’ vow their allegiance to the left where the left might stand for a cocoon that harbours almost every belief system that goes against the popular right-leaning philosophy of governance, history, scholarship, education, life and so on. And it shouldn’t sound surprising to any sane person that the ‘suppressed’ 10% might have experienced a reawakening in India (and the world) with the rise of the right-leaning political powers. The ‘minority’ in literature (of various kinds) is challenging the established majority and that battle, which one might see to be a legendary David taking on Goliath, has become not only interesting but also a curious case of exposé. The open (and shamelessly naked) admissions in the silicon valley that these social media giants are left-leaning has turned many heads in surprise and we have seen what kind of duplicity can be traced in their behaviour when it comes to deal with their platforms and various rules by which they claim to govern the same.
In India, history, philosophy, fiction, sociology and even ancient history (which has been morphed into mere mythology) have long been controlled by the left-leaning scholars who just deny to (even) acknowledge the existence of any other point of view in spite of many pieces of evidence being extended. A very bright and important example might be taken in the form of the falsified Aryan Invasion theory that was propagated with malice intention of dividing the country into south and north (almost done). In spite of new evidence, many new perspectives and many claims made by historians, scholars and experts, no left-leaning historians and sociology experts have yet come forward and accepted that they erred… and still, it is the right which has to face the blame of being imposing and hard-headed.
In literature, the game is the same. Left-leaning literary figures are not ready to accept a few ideas and the same stands for the right-leaning ones. However, hatred can be observed more on one side than another. I will not name the side. However, a hint can be given as the rewriting of ancient history and religious scriptures with twists and fabricated hypotheses. They will not acknowledge the existence of a historical figure or even the events recorded in our history as history. However, they will extract a portion or two from a long epic and claim their biased interpretation to be the guiding light to one’s saviour or redeemer… which is, to be frank, sick and overdone. However, once a person stands to argue and counter the same with valid facts, this lot will defile that person as an intolerant, communal, hate-filled bigot and even ‘nationalist’. Sounds new? Welcome to the new war of narratives that is ‘supposedly’ won by a group already (in their dreams).
At the end of the day, however, we need to ask ourselves – are we leaving creativity, critical vision, objectivity and many other literary and scholarly ethics behind this war of narratives? Are we doing service to the cause of literature and history? Is this war of narrative worth it? How are we shaping our younger generation? There are many questions that we need to ask and there are many answers that we need to seek… Nevertheless, we should also be concerned that this search for answers and process of asking questions should not protract themselves as long as the war of narratives continues…
By Gunjan for Indian Book Critics